Life Admin

What is life admin?

Do life’s mundane tasks – paying bills, booking appointments – feel like a whole other job? These are the things that make up ‘life admin’.

It is all those things that you need to do, but you never seem to feel a benefit – paying bills, booking your car for a service, and so much more. Somehow, they never seem to be straightforward, take up more time than necessary, and never go away.

The problem with life admin is that we are expected to accomplish it without any of the resources that we take for granted at work. When our WiFi breaks down at the office we call a person from IT; when it happens at home we have to fish out the manual (good luck with that) and turn everything off an on again in the correct order. Of course you won’t know what that is as you cannot access the internet to find out!

Then there’s all that “soft” life admin, which is even less legible: fixing your ageing parents computer; arranging a child’s party. Once we recognise these tasks for what they are – a daily tax on our resources – can we start taking steps to reduce them.

What is your admin personality?

  • Super Doer
  • Reluctant Doer
  • Admin Avoider
  • Admin Denier

I go through phases, some days I am a Super Doer, and others an Admin Avoider. Today I am a Super Doer, doing all those things the Admin Avoider of the last few days, and sometimes weeks, has avoided.

When I look around everyone seems so organised, attending appointments and planning ahead. I have an online diary that coordinates my life, but I wish it would answer my emails and phone calls. As a small business owner there is a lot of admin, and this frequently gets  mixed up with life admin jobs. It is almost impossible to separate the two. However, I rarely undertake the business admin on the weekend. This is my time to sort out my life admin, and to have quality time away from work.

How can I be a Super Doer everyday?

I don’t have the answer, but Elizabeth Emens has some great ideas in her book The Art of Life Admin: How to Do Less, Do It Better, and Live More. Some are simple, such as replying to emails when you first read them, or booking your next appointment before leaving your current one. These things will no longer be on your mind, festering or even keeping you awake at night. She suggests getting together with other Admin Avoiders to support each other, and provide an atmosphere that promotes organisation.

If you are not a reader, I would recommend the podcast on Feel Better, Live More. I found this more helpful than the book, as Dr Chatterjee asks all the right questions.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, or listen directly from the Feel Better Live More website by clicking here.